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09 Sep 2021

The roadmap for hydrogen in the UK is now clear – next up is the detail!


On 17 August 2021, the UK Government published its long-awaited Hydrogen Strategy. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ("BEIS") took far longer than originally expected in publishing it, however, when you assess the number of issues addressed within it (and importantly not addressed in it), the Strategy brings home just how difficult a job BEIS is dealing with. 

While there has been a considerable amount of press, debate and discussion since the Strategy's release, we believe that overall, its publication will give a major boost of confidence to the UK market. There is an outline of a Roadmap and the UK Government once again confirmed that hydrogen will play a vital role in the transition to the green economy. However, the lack of specific detail on nearly all of the major issues means the Strategy could be argued to have created more questions than it answers. 

BEIS's twin-track approach detailed in the Strategy has caused considerable debate. Promoting green hydrogen, Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium Green Solutions, who stepped down as chair of the UK Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association prior to the Strategy's release stated, “I believe passionately that I would be betraying future generations by remaining silent on that fact that blue hydrogen is at best an expensive distraction, and at worst a lock-in for continued fossil fuel use that guarantees we will fail to meet our decarbonisation goals”. Renewable UK's CEO Dan McGrail added that "…the strategy doesn't focus on developing UK's world-leading green hydrogen industry". BP's Louise Jacobson Plutt stated that "…[t]he UK government’s new hydrogen strategy will enable the country to reach the UK’s ambition to decarbonize. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to play our part in making this ambition a reality".

For the optimists amongst us who were expecting a clear and absolute strategy, you will of course unfortunately be disappointed. But there is nevertheless plenty to digest.

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